EXCLUSIVE

Noel Whelan has claimed Eddie Nketiah is “loving life” at Leeds United after making a brilliant start to his loan spell at the club.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider editor Wayne Veysey, the ex-United forward insisted that the striker is making an “iron-clad” case to make his first league start for Marcelo Bielsa’s side against Derby County on Saturday.

Nketiah scored his fourth goal in six Leeds matches in Sunday’s 2-0 win at Barnsley when he came off the bench to open the scoring with a poacher’s finish from Kalvin Phillips’ free-kick.

The on-loan Arsenal forward also won a late penalty that was converted by Mateusz Klich and Whelan believes he has to replace Patrick Bamford in the starting XI.

“Nketiah is so full of confidence and such a natural goalscorer,” Whelan told Football Insider. “From what I hear, he is settling in well behind the scenes and loving life at Leeds.

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“Why wouldn’t you? It’s a huge club with a massive fan base and the supporters have taken to him straight away. They can see he is something special.

“Take nothing away from Patrick Bamford, who is a fine player, but Nketiah is making an iron-clad case to be in the starting XI. He scored a goal and won the penalty when he came on against Barnsley, he looks a threat every time he’s on the pitch.

“I’m not sure how you can overlook him. It’s so hard for Bielsa to leave him out now.”

United fans will be delighted at Whelan’s claim that the on-loan striker is settling in so well after he completed his temporary move in the final 24 hours of the English transfer window last month.

His only two starts for Leeds have come in the League Cup, with all four of his Championship appearances coming from the bench.

In other Leeds United news, the club feel they have “dropped a clanger” over player summer sale.